The Princeton Dog Park Alliance, a non-profit group of local dog owners working to locate a central dog park in Princeton, is inviting community participation with an updated website and fundraising effort.
The updated website, www.princetondogpark.org, allows residents to “join the pack” to sign up for information and updates to support the Alliance, and also lists a chronology of the Alliance’s efforts so far. The Alliance has raised over $2,000 and has a donation function on the website for community members to continue their support for the group.
“We want to work cooperatively with the municipality and its many dog owners,” said Calvin Chin, chair of the Dog Park Alliance’s Board of Trustees. “We envision the municipality designating public land for use by the group, and providing support with the parks’ infrastructure. The Dog Park Alliance will be responsible for operations and some upkeep and maintenance.”
The purpose of the dog park is to be easily accessible to all Princeton residents and to create a community among dogs and dog owners to socialize.
“A central location is important for a number of reasons,” said Chin. “Many Princeton residents, especially in the center of Princeton, live in apartments or smaller housing units without large yards. Not all Princeton residents have cars, and it’s important that a dog park is accessible and within walking distance. A central location would also be a great local for dog owners and their pets to gather and form a community.”
The Alliance has identified two categories for dog parks: the large dog park (LDP) and the small neighborhood dog park (NDP).
The LDP is a stand-alone location, requiring “two or more acres with up to three fenced areas for large dogs, small dogs, and senior dogs,” as well as parking, access paths, lighting (with the possibility of using solar energy), water fountains, and restroom units.
The location possibilities that the Alliance has identified are the Historic Overlook Park and the Gulick Preserve, both locations included in the Princeton Recreation and Open Space Inventory.
The NDP has fewer requirements, as it calls for one “all dog size” fenced area in a pre-existing park, the options being Greenway Meadows, Harrison Park, Grover Park, Barbara Smoyer Park, Community Park, and Quarry Park.
The Alliance started when the Princeton Council formed a Dog Park Feasibility Task Force in the summer of 2019, with the Council highlighting the creation of a dog park as a top municipal priority. The task force’s progress was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic, but returned in the September of 2021, when the volunteer group launched a change.org petition to support off-leash access for dogs. The petition received the support of over 350 community members, and in November, the Alliance returned to the Princeton Council, emphasizing the overall benefit of dog parks, “a place where dogs (and their humans) can socialize and play in a safe, off-leash environment).”
The proposal received widespread support from the town council, and aims to begin working on the construction of a dog park immediately.